Home Volkswagen History Battle for the Beetle


"...reads like one of Frederick Forsyth's history-based thrillers...The footnoted research here is exhaustive. Time has done nothing to dim the significance of this book."

Hemmings Motor News
July 2013

"Now released in paperback form, the Battle for the Beetle is a must-read for followers of the greatest little car of all time."

Aircooled Classics
Issue #8 / August - October 2013

"...fills an important gap for Porsche readers and, thanks to Ludvigsen's research, materially advances the Volkswagen story...[Battle for the Beetle] is, in other words, no less than a sweeping, competent overview of carmaking in the 20th century."

May 31, 2013

"A fantastic holiday-season 'read'. Even though you might hate the evil little bug, it's the story of sheer guts, tenacity and far-sighted corporate vision which must enthrall!"

Steering Column
December 2012

"Battle for the Beetle manages to convey the real message, which is that the Beetle was by no means a sure thing to bystanders in the late 1940s...Whether you're a fan of the ass-engined Nazi slot cars or not, the book is worth a read."

January 4, 2011

"More than 50 pages of valuable notes, bibliography, index and acknowledgements are what you would expect from Karl Ludvigsen. You don't need to be a car enthusiast or even a student of the auto industry to benefit from this remarkable book. No military historian, economist, political scientist or engineer can afford to ignore Beetle. Covering so much of the automotive development of the 20th century, it is already one of the important books of the 21st."

Road & Track
September 2000

"From spring of 1938, when the cornerstone was laid for the VW plant, until 1949, when the Beetle finally became a mass-production vehicle, that period is marked by how little we really know about it. Into that gap steps Karl Ludvigsen with a groundbreaking new book...Ludvigsen's view spans the entire history of the automobile, around the world and across the last century. For any enthusiast who aspires to a similar perspective, Battle for the Beetle is required reading."

February 26, 2001

"Karl Ludvigsen's account of the Beetle reveals an enormous amount of untold material, much of which gives a new insight into VW history...with some 460 pages, including 36 pages of end notes, this is a serious tome, well researched and well written, and well worth the money. ★★★★"

Thoroughbred & Classic Cars
June 2000

"...the most comprehensive examination of the origins of the people's car ever...Even if you don't have the slightest interest in VWs you'll find this hardback of interest. The layout is uninspiring and picture reproduction poor, but it's the words that count. Highly recommended."

Classic & Sports Car
June 2000

"As is typical of all Ludvigsen's many works, the writing is clear and engaging and the depth of research impressive. ...If you love auto industry history, this book is a must-have."

Automotive Industries
August 2000

"Beautifully researched and filled with over 200 photos...Battle for the Beetle is a scholarly and engrossing book that is easily up to Ludvigsen's usual high standards. It will be useful to all students of the period, especially those interested in automotive history, and of the early Volkswagen."

Sports Car Market
July 2000

"Unlike most VW Beetle books, Ludvigsen has searched through previously unused archival material and interviewed many of the key people who were on the Allies' team that investigated the Wolfsburg factory, and decided its fate after World War II...[this research] separates this book from the rest and makes it a worthwhile read for true history buffs"

Car News (Australia)
October 27-November 9, 2000

"I would strongly recommend anyone who is interested in a richly detailed historical account of this car's origination & early development to get their hands on a copy of Karl Ludvigsen's "Battle for the Beetle," take some time out from the hectic rat race of life, and read it. It's definitely worth the experience."

Vintage Voice
April 2001

"Karl Ludvigsen, the MIT-trained, acknowledged authority on the automotive industry has written a remarkable account of the symbol of Germany's odyssey from infamy and defeat to postwar recovery and prosperity."

German Studies Review
January 26, 2003

"Large parts of the book are devoted to and include extensive information about how the Volkswagen idea had influenced other car developments in many different countries. These cars, especially the ones from England and France, are well covered and researched and a lot of detailed information is included in the book."

Vintage Volkswagen Club of America
October 2003
Karl Ludvigsen
Karl Ludvigsen

In addition to his motor industry activities as an executive (with GM, Fiat and Ford) and head of a consulting company, Karl Ludvigsen has been active for over 50 years as an author and historian. As an author, co-author or editor he has some four dozen books to his credit. Needless to say, they are all about cars and the motor industry, Karl's life-long passion.

More about Karl Ludvigsen